Robbie Williams and Jesus

I have just watched the ever-addictive X Factor.  Robbie Williams has sung his latest come-back single.

Having spoken this weekend at Christchurch Virginia Water Mens’ Breakfast on the subject of “The Truth about Heaven and Hell” my antenna was already up.  There is considerable popular interest in death and the after life, but rarely does the key issue of Jesus’ physical death and resurrection as a prototype for the Christian believer feature.  Tom Wright Surprised by Hope is a great counter to modern confusion.

But, I wonder, what do you make of these words from Robbie Williams’ new song?

God gave me the sunshine,
Then showed me my lifeline
I was told it was all mine,
Then I got laid on a ley line
What a day, what a day,
And your Jesus really died for me
Then Jesus really tried for me

UK and entropy,
I feel like its ****in’ me
Wanna feed off the energy,
Love living like a deity
What a day, one day,
And your Jesus really died for me
I guess Jesus really tried for me

Bodies in the Bodhi tree,
Bodies making chemistry
Bodies on my family,
Bodies in the way of me
Bodies in the cemetery,
And that’s the way it’s gonna be

All we’ve ever wanted
Is to look good naked
Hope that someone can take it
God save me rejection
From my reflection,
I want perfection

Praying for the rapture,
‘Cause it’s stranger getting stranger
And everything’s contagious
It’s the modern middle ages
All day every day
And if Jesus really died for me
Then Jesus really tried for me

Jesus didn’t die for you, what do you want?
(I want perfection)
Jesus didn’t die for you, what are you on?
Oh Lord
(Jesus really died for you) Ohh
(Jesus really died for you)
(Jesus really died for you) Ohh

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Not only does Jesus feature, but a specific reference to the efficacy of his atoning death.

– Is this a huge ego trip (rather like the oft quoted John Lennon quote about The Beatles being bigger than Jesus Christ);

– Is this a cynical attempt to appeal to the powerful religiously aware consumer?

– Is Robbie Williams genuinely seeking some spiritual awareness?

– Or is he nuts?

I for one, believe Jesus really died for me, and his saving, atoning death is what gives me real hope for this life and for the next.

What do you think?

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13 thoughts on “Robbie Williams and Jesus

  1. Dan Hames October 11, 2009 / 9:30 pm

    Hello Simon,

    Thanks for flagging this up- I was reading about the song this morning as it happens. Apparently Robbie wrote the song as (in part, at least) a critique of George W Bush sending troops to war, supposedly in the name of Jesus. Hence the ‘bodies’. And being raised in a Roman Catholic home, Robbie thinks ‘his’ Jesus wouldn’t force people to do that sort of thing.

    I’m not sure how the material on body image relates, though…

    Dan

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  2. Tim October 11, 2009 / 10:53 pm

    http://tinyurl.com/6lybqb

    On first reflection, he seems to have turned his much-publicised battles with his weight into a sort of spiritual quest.

    Not sure it is an ego trip, especially from someone who is generally down about himself, despite having conquered the world of pop.

    Regarding his attitude to Jesus, it’s a bit confusing. Over on youtube there were several people quite confused about whether it was against Jesus or for him! At the risk of sounding trite I would say as a summary that he seems to be railing against the decay around him (and in him), including the way religion is used, but being desperately unsatisfied with any of his own solutions he seems to be hoping against hope that there really is something in the whole idea of Jesus dying and ‘trying’ in someone’s place – as denoted by the repetition of ‘really’…

    Ultimately the cry of the song can only really be answered by the gospel as it is a cry for acceptance. That is why it is so interesting that the song itself alludes to the possibility of vicarious atonement (and offered by Jesus at that!) being the door to that acceptance. Whether this is something Robbie is prepared to believe for himself is another matter but whether he is denying the idea or not in the song, he is certainly not pooh-poohing it; on some level, in some way, he seems to be engaging with it. He certainly thinks it is important enough to make central to his song.

    Very catchy song 🙂

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  3. Mark October 12, 2009 / 10:45 am

    Very interesting, and in my opinion, positive no matter what RW’s personal opinion. It raises the question into the public profile, and given the nature of the question (where “yes” is the only beneficial answer, “no” and “dunno” being the same), that’s what’s important. My thoughts here:

    http://mark.tranchant.co.uk/2009/10/robbie-williams-evangelist

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  4. Jenni Williams October 13, 2009 / 1:24 pm

    It seems to me he’s using an image to kick around his own issues. He does have a tendency to use short, well-known phrases (like in Angels) as a springboard for thoughts, and I think he just jumped on the phrase ‘Jesus died for me’ and used it to explore his own issues.

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  5. Lyssa October 13, 2009 / 4:41 pm

    Can anyone find a link to what Robbie actually says about this song?

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  6. JesusCourse October 22, 2009 / 3:42 pm

    I understand that Robbie Williams was raised a Roman Catholic so no doubt that has some bearing on the song. I think his spirituality is confused and simply reflects what many people think at the moment – that you can have a kind of pic-n-mix belief. I even had my 7 year old saying that his teacher recons all religions are the same. We had an interesting disucssion.

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  7. David October 29, 2009 / 7:56 pm

    I agree with Jenni.

    I also he’s nuts 🙂

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  8. Julia November 17, 2009 / 3:15 pm

    Hello,

    As a French speacker,I didn’t get all the lyrics at first when I heard that song on the radio. I though that was just another provocative song, to make fun of Jesus-Christ and christians, as usual. It was not.Neither is it a cynical approach. It’s just a commercial use of the famous “Jesus brand”, and I can see Rob’s goal is achieved, so many blogs are now commenting the songs (which is musically lame), creating a “buzz”, boosting his fame and hopefully his record sales… I also agree most people will take it as a pic-n-mix, as J.course said. I think Robbie and his managers are not nuts at all, just marketingly clever!

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  9. Brian April 1, 2010 / 4:49 pm

    I disagree with everyone that has post here so far. I believe this song is a strong message if we as Christians allow it to be. When he is referencing the Bohdi tree and the bodies and chemistry and all, he is speaking of the various religions in general which gets all of the “New Age” people to listen and catch their attention. He also mentions the part about “we all want to look good naked” and “God save me from rejection, from my reflection” that is saying we as people in society want perfection with our looks. We are obsessed with self image and it becomes our idol sometimes. He says he wants to be saved from his self loathing and self hate, which is something we can all relate to at some point in our lives. When he mentions praying for the rapture, I think it is part of his disdain for modern day society and seeing how we act and treat ourselves and each other around the world. We spend so much time focusing on what WE want and what WE need that we forget the bigger picture. He brings in all these aspects that we as people can relate to, and at the end he gives the questions he once had when people tried to reach out to him “What do you want?” “What are you on?” and so on. But at the end he says flat out “Jesus really died for you” trying to nail that fact and image into their minds. It’s not the Bohdi tree, or Buddha, who rotted in the ground by the way, but Jesus, the Son of God who came, died for us, became sin for us, gave us redemption, rose from the grave, and was proclaimed Lord of All. Jesus is the only one of the “Religious Leaders”, as many professors say, that did NOT rot in the ground. I’m sure the worms fed on Buddha for a long time.

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  10. Janet June 5, 2010 / 12:26 am

    Brian, lovely analsation…to all those saying his Roman Catholic upbringing has something to do with the “confused state” of the song are being ridiculous! What does denomination of Chruch have to do with anything here? That’s the issue us Christians have. We are too focused on glorfying each denomination we forget we are all ONE BODY in Christ. Matthew 7.1

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  11. kate April 18, 2011 / 8:29 pm

    nothing wrong with the lyrics, infact there darn good, and a message to the masses just like jesus, elvis and john lennon infact there all proberbly the same energy but in different time zones so be in the now not in the past ;))

    Like

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